Location Number:



1241 W. Bayaud Avenue


Sat and Sun 11AM–4PM

Architect: Animal Arts             
Architectural Style: Modern
Year Built: 2011                     
Designation: 2012 LEED-NC Platinum

Upon arrival at the Denver Animal Shelter (DAS), you are greeted by “SunSpot”, the 25-foot three-piece public dog sculpture covered with over 90,000 steel pet tags. “SunSpot” was created by artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan through the Public Art Program by the City and County of Denver’s Commission on Cultural Affairs. Inside the lobby you will see a collar sized to fit the “SunSpot” sculpture.

The primary distinct areas in the Shelter are the Adoption Lobby and the Lost and Found Lobby. Adoptable Kennel areas are for dogs, cats, and small animals while the Lost and Found Kennel areas are for dogs and cats. Other departments include the Administration offices, Field Services/Animal Protection Officer Area, the Veterinary Clinic (in-house animals only), the 24-hour Night Drop Kennels, and a Community/Multi-purpose room. Outside is a shelter and barnyard area for larger animals. DAS covers over 36,000 square feet.

The modern animal shelter was designed and built to reflect Denver Animal Care and Control’s commitment to animal welfare and health as well as the City’s commitment to sustainability. It was the first and only animal facility in the country to achieve the nationally recognized environmental rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Green features include the use of natural process of evaporation to cool the air instead of environmentally damaging refrigerants, use of daylight sensors to automatically control the lights when there is adequate daylight, reducing the need for electricity. More than 80% of the facility has enough daylight for the electric lights to be shut off when the sun is shining.  It also uses non-toxic cleaning solutions designed for cold-water use, thus reducing energy needs, and radiant heat in the floors of the dog kennels for comfort and warmth.

Additionally, interior design features that contribute to the warm and welcoming atmosphere for the animals and people include access to natural light in every animal enclosure and throughout the building, kennels with their own individual ventilation system to reduce odor and control the spread of disease, and doggie “flush toilets” to dispose of dog waste. The kennel areas have fenced-in outdoor spaces for pet exercise. There are 186 cat condos, and if needed, cats can double to house 372 total cats. Cat condos have individual ventilation to reduce air-transmitted diseases and limit smell. There are 127 dog kennels and they can double up to house 254 dogs in total.

The People
Denver Animal Protection (DAP), a division of the Denver city government, provides animal care and protection services for all of Denver County. DAP operates the Denver Animal Shelter (DAS), an open-admissions shelter that is home to more than 7,500 lost and abandoned pets each year. DAS operates with an approximately $4,000,000 annual budget.

The primary mission of the DAS is fostering the human-animal bond by protecting the safety and welfare of Denver’s animals and citizens. In meeting this mission, DAS provides humane care to companion animals, reunites lost pets with their owners, adopts pets to loving homes, enforces Denver County animal ordinances, and proactively educates the public about animals, their needs, and DAP’s critical role as a community resource.

The DAS operates as a resource for people needing help with their animals, assisting them in learning about animal care. It provides programs such as the Denver Pet Retention Program to help families with medical support, behavior training resources, and pet related support. Another program, Pets for Life Denver, offers pet care services and information to people with pets in underserved communities.

The DAS is an open door facility, operating under the belief in not euthanizing animals for time and space, and only makes such determinations based on severe medical issues or behavioral safety concerns (bite history, aggression, etc.). When a pet arrives at the DAS, a behavioral and medical evaluation is conducted to determine the adoptability of the pet. Relationships with partner organizations enhance DAS’s ability to relocate pets. After successful evaluation and placement in the DAS, the pet remains as long as necessary.

Denver Animal Shelter has one of the highest placement rates of homeless pets among municipal shelters in the U.S. In the last year alone, more than 6,000 pets were adopted, reunited with owners, or transferred to placement partners. While cats and dogs make up the majority of animals served by DAS, small pocket pets such as hamsters and rabbits, along with aquatic animals and reptiles have also come to the shelter. Additionally, large animals such as horses and pigs are seen on occasion.

Denver Animal Protection is a member of the Metro Denver Animal Welfare Alliance (MDAWA). MDAWA is a coalition of 25 public and private shelters, rescue groups, and other animal service providers committed to fostering collaborative efforts of its members to promoting humane care for companion animals in the Denver community.

Animal Arts of Boulder, Colorado, was established in 1979 by Lawrence A. Gates and Mark R. Hafen as Gates Hafen Architects. In 1986, their client Animal House Veterinary Clinic won a veterinary Economics Hospital Design Award and the firm grew to specialize in the animal care design industry. Their work spans design of small general practice veterinary hospitals, expansive specialty emergency practices, and equine and large animal hospitals. Animal Arts has a portfolio of over 600 veterinary hospitals, pet resorts, and animal shelter projects ranging in size from 900 to 85,000 square feet in 40 states, Japan, Australia, and Canada.

The Neighborhood and Recent Owners
The Denver Animal Shelter is centrally located in the city of Denver in a light industrial area alongside the North Platte River. It is not far from the original Denver Animal Shelter, which was constructed decades ago, prior to modern emphasis on constructing a welcoming and green facility.

www.animalarts.biz; www.denvergov.org/content/denvergoc/en/denver-animal-shelter/about-das; Wolff, Julian (2017, February 7) - Personal interview and DAS tour.